On April 8th, I had the privilege of representing Hello West Michigan and the region to over 500 collegiate athletes at the GVSU Lubbers Cup Regatta. When I started my internship, I didn’t know what a regatta was, but I quickly discovered the sport of rowing, and was fascinated by the speedy boats, called “racing shells” by the aficionados, cruising up and down Spring Lake. The Lubbers Cup dates back to 1997 and Hello West Michigan has partnered with the Grand Haven Spring Lake Ferrysburg Chamber of Commerce for the last 5 years to host a table at the event. With so many students from top tier universities, it is a target environment for us to talk about the region, its opportunities with soon-to-be grads.
The athletes represented various schools around the Midwest, including Grand Valley State, Illinois, Drake, Purdue, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and more. Many athletes and parents from varying states chatted with us about their appreciation and memories of past family vacations to different West Michigan parks, lighthouses, attractions, and beaches.
Many of the student athletes were studying subjects like engineering or information technology, two fields in high demand in West Michigan. With the internship or post-grad job search on their minds, we chatted about the wide range of companies in West Michigan and the career opportunities they offered.
After witnessing the regatta and the passion so many residents have for the sport, I learned more about the opportunities we have in West Michigan get out on the water and row. The Grand Rapids Rowing Association promotes wellness through rowing and paddling programs for juniors and adults, where members have free access to the boathouse during the day so that they can row at their convenience. The State Games of America also hosts a rowing regatta at Riverside Park in Grand Rapids every summer, where every age and experience level is welcome to compete.
With summertime just around the corner, getting outside and taking advantage of our abundance of outdoor recreation activities is something to experience. There are numerous other water activities available in West Michigan, such as stand up paddle boarding and kayaking at Grand Rapids’ Millennium Park, boat and jet ski rentals in Holland, pontoon rentals and day cruises in Grand Haven, and more. I was not previously aware of the unique water experiences available to the public, and am excited to finish up college classes for the semester and begin my summer vacation in West Michigan.